Situated in the south-eastern section of the country, the Eastern Cape is endowed with great natural beauty, particularly in the rugged, rocky cliffs and dense green bush of the stretch known as the Wild Coast. The Indian Ocean here is temperate.
To the north-west, the province borders on KwaZulu-Natal and meets the southern tip of the Drakensberg range; further south, mountains and hills predominate, the northern section in the dry Karoo being flatter.
The long curve of coastline, large area (at nearly 170 000km2 covering 13,9% of the country) and the considerable east-west and north-south distances it covers provide the province with extremely varied vegetation.
Situated on Algoa Bay is Port Elizabeth, the largest city. The provincial capital is Bhisho and other important towns include the port of East London and, inland, King William's Town, Umtata, Uitenhage and Grahamstown.
The main industrial centres are Port Elizabeth, East London and Uitenhage, the latter known for its automotive manufacturing industry. There is much fertile land and agriculture is important. Fruit, especially pineapples, form a significant crop; coffee and tea are also cultivated. Maize and sorghum are grown and cattle farming is of particular significance as a subsistence activity; sheep farming predominates in the Karoo.
There is excellent potential for forestry - the coastal areas receive good summer rainfall and have a moderate climate, becoming more sub-tropical to the north-west. The Tsitsikamma National Park on the southern border is home to dense indigenous forest.
The Eastern Cape offers major cities, airports, ports as well as a dynamic manufacturing sector which includes the southern African bases of some of the worlds major cmpanies. The province lies equidistant from the major market centres of South Africa and is linked to those centres by a modern network of air, roads and railways.
The province's manufacturing sector is already quite well integrated into the world economy. For example, nearly a half of the 120 large-scale enterprises are part of international corporations, and over 50% of the large-scale enterprises are exporting more than 25% of their output.
Total provincial personal disposable income is estimated to be an annual R50-billion. This represents a major consumer market for producers both inside and outside the Eastern Cape. Exports from the province through the harbours of Port Elizabeth and East London (as measured by Portnet) amount to R8-billion. There are no official statistics for provincial investment (gross fixed capital formation).
The province is located on the southeastern seaboard of South Africa and is the second largest province. The capital, Bhisho, is conveniently located 60km from East London, one of two ports in the province, the other being Port Elizabeth. The container ports in East London and Port Elizabeth are of the highest international standard but are under-utilised. Major airports link them to Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. These act as international gateways for South Africa, offering direct flights to key cities throughout the world.
Port Elizabeth-Uitenhage Metropole holds a population of approximately 1.4-million people and is is home to some of the largest automotive and OEM component manufactures in the country. The stage has been set for further investment in the region with an entertainment resort earmarked for the city's beachfront.
Good quality factories are generally available in Butterworth, East London, Port Elizabeth, Queenstown, Uitenhage and Umtata and all these areas are served by an efficient transport and containerised traffic network.
Electricity costs are the second cheapest in the world and all factories are supplied with 3-phase electricity at 220/380 volts.
The water quality is of a very high standard and can generally be drunk from taps and used without further treatment. The province has abundant capacity to accommodate further industrial expansion and cheap industrial land is available in most towns.
The province also possesses a strong, dynamic and diversified productive sector and a particularly large manufacturing sector, accounting for about 35% of private production, and many world-famous companies have made major investments in the province. These include Volkswagen, General Motors (Delta), Daimler South Africa, Goodyear Tyres, Nestle, Cadbury's, Firestone Tyres, Duracell Eveready, Ford (Samcor), Johnson & Johnson, Dulux Paints, SKF Bearings, and Marley Flooring.
Spatial development initiatives
To facilitate integrated planning sensitive to the environment, the province has two targeted Spatial Development Initiatives (SDI), namely the Fish River SDI and the Wild Coast SDI, and two industrial development zones (IDZs), namely the West Bank (East London) IDZ and the Coega IDZ. The latter, 20 km east of the Nelson Mandela Metropole (previously: Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage Municalities), was the first IDZ to be earmarked and is one of the biggest initiatives ever undertaken in South Africa. Plans for the development of the area as an ex port-orientated zone include the building of a deepwater port (Coega - see below).
Click here for the Wild Coast Spatial Development Initiative site
Click here for the East London IDZ site
Click here for the Fish River Spatial Development Initiative site
Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ)
Situated on South Africa's Eastern Cape coast, the Coega Industrial Development Zone is equidistant from American, European and Pacific-Rim markets. The new deepwater port being developed is ideally placed to serve as a transshipment hub port for locations throughout southern Africa and further afield, meeting the opportunities provided by the rapid changes in international shipping traffic. Coega offers:
- A world-class deepwater port gateway to international markets
- Vast industrial parks suitable for heavy, medium and light industries
- Economic clusters centred on backward and forward integration. These include a metallurgical cluster focused on natural resource beneficiation and an automotive cluster based on existing assembly and component industries.
- Purpose-built industrial infrastructure for investors
- A custom-secure area
- Access to a vast pool of skilled and semi-skilled labour
- Facilitation of training - through internationally recognized academic and training institutions - to meet investor needs for a skilled workforce An interface with all relevant South African Government authorities to facilitate the investments.
Apart from the modern R2,65-billion deepwater port facility, the Coega Development Corporation will provide transportation linkages - including road and rail networks - and logistics infrastructure, through an initial investment of some R800-million. In addition, the long-term planning for the Coega Industrial Development Zone includes a new international airport.
There are sufficient electricity and water resources to meet the future demands within the Industrial Development Zone. These utilities are available in bulk at very favourable rates. The Coega Development Corporation is committed to operating an efficient, world-class Industrial Development Zone, so that investors can secure competitive advantage in their respective sector, thus maximizing the return on investment.
Click here for their site
Africa's Sunshine Coast stretches from the forests of the Tsitsikamma in the west along hundreds of kilometres of sandy beaches to East London in the east, and northwards to the fertile river valleys and the Amatola Mountains.
The TsiTsikamma comprises a wonderful stretch of natural forests and boasts a wide array of adventure activities on the province's western gateway. An invitation of "out of the forest and into the sunshine" then awaits the visitor, as the glorious Sunshine Coast invites the visitor to follow the wonderful beaches of this route to Port Alfred in the west. This quaint resort town, together with St Francis Bay, Cape St Francis, Jeffreys Bay and the gateway city of Port Elizabeth offer a fantastic variety of activities and special interests.
Attractions include stunning beaches and warm water, a full variety of watersports (including world class surfing and sailing), quality golf courses, historical trails, a variety of Eco-walks and attractions, many annual festivals and welcoming locals. Less than an hour from the coast, one is able to view the Big Five in a malaria-free area which boats a unique bio-diversity , or ramble through the agricultural valleys to sample their hospitality and local fare. The numerous hunting farms of these areas are also a comfortable drive from the coast.
The coastline north of Port Alfred boasts a lush network of rivers, lagoons, estuaries and grassy plains and includes South Africa's only river port at the mouth of the Buffalo River.
Click here for the Sunshine Coast site